Showing posts with label tutoring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tutoring. Show all posts

25.4.13

Sharing The Myth of Sisyphus With Kids: The Original Rolling Stone

I’ve been teaching Greek myth to a class of 8-12-year-olds since February, and it’s been so much fun, hearing what the kids have to say about myths when they process the psychological insights that I’m able to share with them. One of the primary themes of our class has been how and why the myth is still relevant today, thousands of years after these stories were first told. A particularly useful recent lesson was on the myth of Sisyphus, which is such a great metaphor for human struggle.
A Detail of an Ancient Greek Vase Depicts the Story of the Trickster Hero Sisyphus Who was Punished by the gods for Attempting to Cheat Death
The Myth of Sisyphus
Sisyphus was a Greek king, in the evil trickster mold, who found trouble with Zeus when he traded his knowledge of where Zeus was cavorting with a river nymph to her father, in exchange for a spring of pure water for the people of his kingdom. In anger, Zeus had Sisyphus carried away to the underworld, but once there, Sisyphus tricked Death into wearing his chains. No one could die until Ares released Death and gave Sisyphus to him.

Sisyphus tricked Death once again (Death must not have been the brightest guy), persuading him that since his (Sisyphus’) wife hadn’t performed the proper funeral rites, he must return to the upper world to correct the situation. Once there, of course, he lived happily for another 50 years or so.
For his offenses against the honor of the gods, Sisyphus is punished by being forced to push a large rock up a steep hill, only to see it roll back down again. He must trek down to the bottom of the mountain and start pushing still.

French-Algerian Writer Albert Camus Reinvents the Myth of Sisyphus for Modern Readers
Camus writes about this myth in his seminal essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, arguing that Sisyphus’ fate is the fate of every human. Every day we must do the same tasks over and over; going to work, cleaning our homes, making our meals. We roll the rock up the hill; each day, it rolls back down, and we must start again.

However, Camus argues, Sisyphus is not truly cursed, because he isn’t unhappy with his fate. The gods can force him to repeat this task over and over, but they can’t force him to hate it. He is content, and therefore Zeus’ punishment has failed.

Teaching the Myth to My Kids in the Classroom
When I explained all of this to my kids, it was refreshing because they asked brilliant questions. They always want to know why the characters in Greek myths didn’t make different, better choices. One question that came up: why doesn’t Sisyphus chip away at the rock to make it smaller, make it easier for himself? I compared that to working less hard on studying for an exam and getting a “C” instead of an “A”. You can always take steps to make things easier for yourself, but you’d be cheating yourself at the same time. They got it, and it was really cool to see them getting it.

4.8.09

Why I hate Wikipedia naysayers and why tutoring sucks


LIS 501 Reference and Information Services

I got an "A" in my LIS class.
I am happy because this is a sign that I am on the right career track. Now, I just have to get my FAFSA shit together and I am set for success. That, and I need to apply to some Ph.D. programs. I have until December. If you have any Ph.D. programs that feature both philosophy, literature and theory, let me know. But, that is a conundrum for another blog post.

I am glad the group projects in the online lit class did not bring me down. I was disappointed that one of our group wiki projects bombed. We had to create a survey of ready reference websites. We chose LGBT as our topic but quickly realized it was TOO hard to find Ready Reference for that topic.

But, you know, let me digress a bit.
Ready Reference ClarificationsI disagree with traditional definitions of ready reference. It is erroneous and limiting to assert that a source is a ready reference and ready reference only. I disagree with ready reference shelves. If you are going to have a Ready Reference shelf: make it an almanac. Ready Reference depends on the needs of the user. For example, Wikipedia is a ready reference at times, especially for cursory questions like, "which movie won the academy award for best picture in 1939?". But at other times Wikipedia attempts to answer encyclopedic questions and users are prompted to follow the links at the bottom of the page.

Why I love Wikipedia
I love Wikipedia no matter what the nay-sayers say. Even Lexis-Nexis with all of its pizazz has corrupted data. And EBSCO does not always transcribe information correctly. I have not done the pre-requisite research, but data loss in huge conglomerate databases is probably under-reported. I mean, you hear about glitches in Google book scan where technician's hands cover up text, but other than that, most people blindly assume that for the most part subscription databases are accurate. I mean, I want to see people hooraying for open source databases and open-source directories like www.dmoz.org and www.lii.org. Instead of demeaning Wikipedia, let us try to create more critical thinkers, which won't be easy because I mean, like, look at all the people who blindly believe mass forwarded emails warning against a virus. The one deterrent to accuracy is people are more willing to believe something they read based on fear rather than reason. I mean ever since that movie Taken came out, young women are not traveling to Paris anytime soon. But, anyway, the other wikis went over well and I was so happy with the class as a whole. Hooray for the University of Southern Mississippi School of Library and Information Science!

I am taking cataloging this Fall. I think I am in for a rude awakening because
everything I know about cataloging is so organic. Greig is set to FAIL!

Speaking of FailI got a tutoring job last week. Made 25 dollars helping this crazy guy prepare for his GRE test. Here is my advertisement on Craigslist. Send it to your needy friends.
Man, you gotta be careful who you instruct through craigslist job spots. This dude is veritably crazy. Thank you very much. He acted like he was doing me a favor allowing me to tutor him in writing. He did play the piano for me in his apartment and sang mellifluously but hey, I am here to tutor, not hang around for a social call. He wrote to me today informing me he was going to prepare for the GRE himself. He was odd. I hope my next set of students fair better than this one. I think I am going to gamble that 25 dollars on the video slots to at least try to milk it for what's it worth. Or lose it.

Future Blog Posts: Siggraph 2009 and Dirty Linen Night
So looking forward to Siggraph 2009 in New Orleans. I promise a blog from there as well as a blog on Dirty Linen Night this Saturday on Royal street.
Note: picture co-opted from http://www.legendarytimes.com/images/news/book2.jpg. Used without permission